Santosa Holistic Superheroes' Experiences of Lockdown

Five weeks ago Santosa shut its doors due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Five long weeks without customers, teachers and their students, therapists and their clients - all the people who create the special and unique space that is Santosa.

I can only guess how Santosa is missing all the noises of the crockery and cutlery and the customers savouring Shahana's delicacies in the cafe. I can almost feel the deafening silence of the empty Sanctuary, without the teachers and their students talking louder than they should (!) and the therapy rooms filled with those fortunate enough to be drinking from the magic potion of the holistic goodness that the skilled therapists are providing.

Where are all the teachers and therapists, the amazing team who welcome their clients and students and share their skills? What are they doing during the lockdown to keep busy?

We interrupted their lockdown to ask a few questions and find out how they are doing.


I’m in a space which was once my massage studio but now appears to be a teaching studio, exercise space and office. It smells nice.

I’m with three bewildering life forms formerly known as my husband and teenage children. They don’t smell so nice.

I spend my time in futile resistance against the biscuit tin.

I discovered a box of Hamma beads so I’m crafting an army of tiny unicorns.

I am teaching all my classes on Zoom, posting daily on social media which I hope is useful, and slowly working through the pile of admin tasks which have been following me around for the last 2 years.

Elspeth Alexandra, Holistic Core Restore        Elspeth Alexander Holistic Core Restore

Elspeth Alexandra

Holistic Core Restore teacher and therapist

During this lockdown, I have noticed that I haven’t beaten my exercise addition the way I thought I had. That I’m not very good at sitting still. That my life is very difficult without touch. How to perfectly perform a Romanian deadlift, for rehab purposes. That tiny unicorns can be cantankerous.

The first thing I’m going to do after the lockdown is over is to get back to the gym and workout with my gym fam and the tiny unicorns.

My advice to readers: if you find a box of Hamma beads, walk away!


Turiya Ayurvedic Therapist Edinburgh

Turiya Warman, Ayurveda Therapist

I’m staying in my flat in Edinburgh on my own.

As I am studying Ayurveda and Vedanta, I am spending most of my time online. And now all my interactions with friends and family are online too, I am making sure that the rest of my free time is not spent online. I have been walking to watch the sunrise most mornings, cooking, listening to audiobooks, lying in the long grass and watching the clouds, hugging trees, reading books that I love and ending every day with meditation and prayer, writing or drawing to process my feelings.

I have watched a few nice movies and TV shows to make me laugh. I sing a lot and dance sometimes. I like to make dream catchers so I have enjoyed collecting feathers and being creative.

For my business, I am delivering my regular meditation classes online at Beetroot Wellness Centre online hub, which are free for all to join. and I wrote a blog post about how Ayurveda can help during Corona times,

I am also getting ready to launch my business as an Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle Consultant which will hopefully happen during the summer, so I hope to be taking clients at Santosa for both massage and nutrition very soon.

I have been trying to live in the day for many years now but I tend to get carried away into the future. Because all my plans and goals are radically uncertain now, I have been forced to live in the day. In doing this I have become more in tune with my needs and am finding more space for self-compassion, nature connection, rest, flow and spontaneity. It has been challenging every day, and some days I have been totally fed up and yet there have been many rewards. If I chose to live today then I gain the day – that is my big lesson so far. I’m sure there will be more to come.

The first few things I will do after the lockdown will be to visit my family, eat a pizza, go up north and get into the wild.

I would say to the readers that we have all lost something during this time. It doesn’t matter how big or small if we feel a loss, we are grieving. Now is the time to cultivate a connection with those we love, with God, with nature, with ourselves. Ayurveda is always working with opposites. In order to heal we need the opposite quality to the cause of the illness. Right now, we are facing uncertainty, isolation, stress, so we need to ground in truth, love, connection, rest, always starting with ourselves, right now. How can we be more compassionate to ourselves at this time? What do we need to feel grounded, loved, connected? Then give yourself full permission to give yourself what you need, and rest.


I am staying at home with my family. I have bought my first home but cannot move in just now due to the lockdown.

From Monday to Friday I work as a key support worker which is challenging, but worthwhile and glad I have a job.

I spend my time building on yoga practice, dancing as much as possible, working on online tutorials. Planning ahead for classes, workshops, collaborations. Listening to music, especially new music and creating choreographies. Learning Turkish and building on my Spanish skills. Going for walks. Sitting in the sun in the garden. Preparing and enjoying nice meals together. Watching movies.

Tamar Sparkles Belly Dance Teacher

Tamar Duncan, Belly Dance Teacher

I am also passionate about the environment, so I am doing as much as I can online such as signing petitions and keeping up to date with current news. I'm looking at the positive environmental impact this is having and hoping we can slow things down after this so it can continue. I am also practising my wildlife identification and looking at how I can help, especially when in my new home's garden.

I am continuing to keep in touch with students, friends and other dancers on social media through regular posts. This includes short dance tutorials and choreographies. I enjoy teaching students about the wonders of the dance, such as the history, anthropology, health and well being to name but a few. I do this during class and online, so currently I am achieving this online by recommending books, dance legends to watch and online articles.

This quarantine has allowed me to take the time to focus on how I can evolve as a dance teacher. For example building on various yoga poses and body strengthening for class and researching and watching dancers get inspiration. I have been practising props such as the veil, zills and building on my knowledge of music, styles and drum rhythms.

I am also looking at different ways to promote my class, Santosa and the other teachers and therapists here.

The first thing I will do after the lockdown will be to teach a dance class and plan a gathering for all the Santosa folks, different dancers and musicians that I know!

My advice to the readers would be to stick in. Stay focused, stay positive. Do something for yourself every day. Do something for a loved on every day. Take the opportunity to think of how you want to live your life, what you want to contribute, what legacy you want to leave.


Maija Kovalevska Reiki Master

Maija Kovalevska, Reiki Master Teacher and Practitioner

This quarantine period provides more flexibility so I can do some things that I was never planning to do for my clients and students before. As Reiki allows it, I do a free distant healing session for everyone every Monday. I also started to do Reiki training online which might be very helpful in the future as an alternative to regular training, because not everyone can attend in person. I do online Reiki shared practice, willing to keep my Reiki community together as they need some support now. The regular individual distance healing is also available by request to anybody looking for tension and stress relief. I'm glad that Reiki allows me to work remotely.

I stay at home with my partner. It's funny because we never spent so much time together before. I think we could even know each other a bit better and we very much enjoy to go for a walk, cycling, cooking, playing board games, video games and watching movies.

I spend some time every day for Yoga and meditation, definitely more than I used to do before. We regularly connect with our families and friends online or by phone more often as well.

During this lockdown, I have learnt that in any situation we should look on the bright side and be grateful for everything we've got.

As a Reiki person, I find Reiki principles could be helpful for everyone, as they are a good remedy for our mind and body.

Just for today

I will not anger

I will not worry

I will be grateful

I practise diligently

I will be kind to every living thing.


I am in my 11th-floor apartment in the south-east of Edinburgh facing west overlooking Pentlands and Braid hills. I am here with my partner who is an NHS worker, and two children (one teenager and one adult).

I have been spending my time learning the art of non-doing, learning the art of being, re-centring with family, cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, writing, listening, walking, praying, singing, meditating, studying, breathing, and believing.

I am doing my yoga studies and practice, doing an online training course in intuitive body dance and re-acquainting myself with MS Excel.

I feel the exit from lockdown is on a continuum toward more relaxed states of being. I am looking forward to a haircut, a reflexology treatment, a massage, a sauna and swim, and supporting local businesses and community.

Poppy Evans, Yoga Teacher and Santosa Manager


Agnesia Agrella Craniosacral Therapist Santosa 

Agnesia Agrella, Craniosacral Therapist

As a craniosacral therapist, and since social distancing, it is impossible for me to practice CST.

I am doing training with Heartmath and Firstbeat which will allow me to add heart rate variability measurement to my practice.

I am very excited about this training as I have been looking for an objective measurement system to keep track of my clients' progress during treatments.

I am currently looking for practice clients and can work with people online who are struggling with anxiety and who are feeling overwhelmed.

I can offer them self regulations technique based on heartfelt breathing.


It's great knowing that you are doing well, not only thriving in this difficult time but also developing new ways to work with your clients and students. When the lockdown ends you will be back stronger and wiser, offering a wider range of treatments and skills, and ready to care for your clients and students. But before that happens, we need to clear up all the cobwebs and kindly put all the spiders away back to their dark and quiet corners!

Teachers, therapists and team members, thank you for making Santosa the oasis of peace and calm that we all love. You are Santosa Holistic Superheroes! 

Please take care and stay safe.

Mario Martinez

30 April 2020